Canada Markets closed

Samsung May Buy Nuance, The Voice-Recognition Company That Helped Power Siri

Dave Smith
nuance nina app for iphone and android

YouTube Screenshot

Samsung Electronics is reportedly in talks with Nuance, the voice recognition company whose tech helped power Siri, about a possible acquisition, according to The Wall Street Journal .

The Burlington, Mass.-based company is one of the biggest providers of voice-powered technology, available on desktop computers, mobile phones, TVs, and even GPS devices.

Samsung already uses Nuance’s voice and language recognition technologies in a number of its own devices, including phones, TVs and tablets, but Nuance last September said it would also power Samsung’s new set of wearable devices.

In an interview for ReadWrite a few months ago, Nuance CMO Peter Mahoney said the company has been working on the capabilities of its virtual assistants to “communicate with humans more fluidly.”

“Dialogue is really important,” Mahoney said. “In the original systems that came out, it operated like a search engine. You say something and something comes back, but it may or may not be the right thing. But that’s not how humans work. Humans disambiguate. We clarify.”

Nuance is working on improving its personal assistants to better approximate human behavior, which means pushing its own systems to store more data and consider more contextual information before making decisions. Mahoney also said Nuance is pushing its personal assistants to learn relationships, classifications and genres — and even remember previous conversations — to serve as more proactive recommendation engines.

“A human who is thoughtful understands your needs, wants and desires—he or she understands you and can contextualize that,” Mahoney said. “One of the things you talk about is having all the information. The more online information and the more great services out there that exist, the more we’ll be able to connect our intelligent systems that can understand everything that’s going on.”

In addition to its software, Nuance also offers a treasure trove of valuable voice-related patents, some of which were picked up from acquisitions. For example, Nuance owns patents for IBM's speech technology and the popular predictive text technology known as T9. 

Nuance, which lists Carl Icahn as its biggest shareholder with 19% of the company, also serves several other large customers including Nintendo, Panasonic and car manufacturer Daimler AG. Before The Wall Street Journal’s report broke, Nuance had a market capitalization of roughly $5.5 billion.



More From Business Insider

  • Argentina's treasury minister resigns, senior official says
    Finance
    The Canadian Press

    Argentina's treasury minister resigns, senior official says

    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — A senior official in Argentina's presidential office says the country's treasury minister resigned Saturday.The resignation comes three days after President Nicolas Macri announced his conservative administration is temporarily increasing the minimum wage, reducing payroll

  • Finance
    The Canadian Press

    Illinois sues company after lead found in village's water

    UNIVERSITY PARK, Ill. — Illinois alleges that a company that provides water to a Chicago suburb made changes without permission from state regulators that caused lead to contaminate the village's drinking water.Attorney General Kwame Raoul filed a lawsuit Friday against Aqua Illinois, the company

  • Argentina Economy Minister Dujovne Resigns After Peso Plunge
    Finance
    Bloomberg

    Argentina Economy Minister Dujovne Resigns After Peso Plunge

    (Bloomberg) -- Argentine Economy Minister Nicolas Dujovne resigned Saturday, capping a week of market chaos that followed President Mauricio Macri’s stunning loss in a primary vote.“I am convinced that, given the circumstances, the government you lead needs a significant renewal in the economic area,

  • Liberals unveil $3B sole-source deal for armoured vehicles ahead of election
    Finance
    The Canadian Press

    Liberals unveil $3B sole-source deal for armoured vehicles ahead of election

    OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government has unveiled plans to award a sole-source contract for hundreds of light armoured vehicles to General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada, while also promising the London, Ont., company a $650-million loan.The surprise deal and loan were announced by Defence Minister

  • Amazon, Swatch, Daimler and the Risks of a Global Recession
    Finance
    Bloomberg

    Amazon, Swatch, Daimler and the Risks of a Global Recession

    (Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Investors are bracing for a significant downturn in the world economy, cutting earnings estimates amid a market sell-off. While all cyclical industries face some form of risks, some companies

  • San Francisco doesn't care about the stock market
    Finance
    Yahoo Finance

    San Francisco doesn't care about the stock market

    San Francisco is home to hot IPOs like Uber, Lyft, Slack and Pinterest. Big swings in the stock market get less attention than sizeable moves with any of the cities biggest publicly traded names.

  • Yemen rebel drone attack targets remote Saudi oil field
    Finance
    The Canadian Press

    Yemen rebel drone attack targets remote Saudi oil field

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Drones launched by Yemen's Houthi rebels attacked a massive oil and gas field deep inside Saudi Arabia's sprawling desert on Saturday, causing what the kingdom described as a "limited fire" in the second such recent attack on its crucial energy industry.The

  • Saudi Oil Plant Attacked by Drones But Production Unaffected
    Finance
    Bloomberg

    Saudi Oil Plant Attacked by Drones But Production Unaffected

    (Bloomberg) -- Drones attacked oil and gas facilities at the Shaybah field in southeast Saudi Arabia but failed to disrupt production, the kingdom’s Oil Minister Khalid Al-Falih said.Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Aramco as the company is known, extinguished a small fire at a natural gas liquids plant at

  • Susan Lucci on how to get over being fired
    Finance
    Yahoo Finance

    Susan Lucci on how to get over being fired

    Soap Opera legend Susan Lucci reveals how she got over the "All My Children" cancellation and how she's finding success in her 70s.

  • Stock market gyrates as the economic picture gets blurred
    Finance
    The Canadian Press

    Stock market gyrates as the economic picture gets blurred

    You're not the only one confused about where the economy is headed. Just look at the stock market, where perplexed investors have been sending stocks on a wild ride in August.And there could be plenty more where that came from. Two notoriously volatile months for stocks lie just ahead.Stocks around

  • Why this former NFL player is launching a business school program for inmates
    Finance
    Yahoo Finance

    Why this former NFL player is launching a business school program for inmates

    Former NFL player Jack Brewer has launched a career development course for inmates preparing for transition into the workforce.

  • Finance
    Bloomberg

    Sudan Edges Closer to Civilian Rule as Army Set to Share Power

    (Bloomberg) -- Sudan’s military council signed a power-sharing deal with the main opposition movement, edging Africa’s third-largest country a little closer to civilian rule about four months after President Omar al-Bashir’s overthrow.The transition accord that will be valid for about three years was

  • Bonds, yields, and why it matters when the yield curve inverts: Yahoo U
    Finance
    Yahoo Finance

    Bonds, yields, and why it matters when the yield curve inverts: Yahoo U

    The yield curve inversion had markets tumbling amid concerns of a coming recession, but what is a "yield curve" and how (and/or why) does it invert?

  • Millennials: 3 Things Not to Learn From Your Baby Boomer Parents
    Finance
    The Motley Fool

    Millennials: 3 Things Not to Learn From Your Baby Boomer Parents

    Don't make the same mistakes as your parents! The best thing you can do for your future is start investing today.

  • 'Horrendous situation': America's teachers are suing the federal government over student loans
    Finance
    Yahoo Finance

    'Horrendous situation': America's teachers are suing the federal government over student loans

    Teachers across America have gotten so frustrated with low pay and a broken federal loan forgiveness system that they’ve decided to sue the Department of Education.

  • Finance
    Bloomberg

    Investors Should Hold Their Stocks, Invesco’s Levitt Says

    (Bloomberg) -- Investors should stick with their stocks despite the sell-off this week because it would be harder to time the market and get back in, according to Brian Levitt, global market strategist for North America at Invesco.U.S. equities suffered one of the deepest sell-offs of the year on Wednesday

  • 'The future is bright for Austin': Sotheby's International Real Estate CEO
    Finance
    Yahoo Finance Video

    'The future is bright for Austin': Sotheby's International Real Estate CEO

    Despite geopolitical tensions and uncertainty, the luxury real estate market is still showing some signs of life.

  • Trump administration has ‘a lot of interest’ in input from companies affected by trade war
    Finance
    Yahoo Finance

    Trump administration has ‘a lot of interest’ in input from companies affected by trade war

    Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf shared how he is educating the White House on how technology is affected by the U.S.-China trade war.

  • Finance
    Bloomberg

    Lost in Trump’s China Week Was a Postcard to Europe: You’re Next

    (Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. President Donald Trump drew so much attention this past week on matters ranging from wanting to buy Greenland to a supporter’s weight problems, that it was easy to miss some of his more stinging

  • Jay-Z Has Every Right to Take the NFL’s Money
    Finance
    Bloomberg

    Jay-Z Has Every Right to Take the NFL’s Money

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Maybe profit is evil?That’s the only explanation I can think of for the vituperation being directed at the entertainment mogul Jay-Z for joining forces with the National Football League to make a buck. According to the NFL’s official announcement this week, the league and Roc Nation

  • U.S. Oil Export Race Accelerates Even as One Project Makes Leap
    Finance
    Bloomberg

    U.S. Oil Export Race Accelerates Even as One Project Makes Leap

    (Bloomberg) -- The race to develop oil terminals that can fully load supertankers on the U.S. Gulf Coast remains congested, even as one of North America’s largest pipeline operators decided to push its project ahead.Over a year, more than 10 projects have been proposed for terminals that, combined, will

  • PG&E to Face California Jury Over Billions in Tubbs Fire Damages
    Finance
    Bloomberg

    PG&E to Face California Jury Over Billions in Tubbs Fire Damages

    (Bloomberg) -- Victims of the second-most destructive fire in California history will get a chance to try and persuade a jury that PG&E Corp. should pay them as much as $18 billions in damages.U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali on Friday lifted a freeze on lawsuits tied to the 2017 Tubbs fire, which

  • Why Coca Cola & Pepsico both are launching aluminum canned waters
    Finance
    Yahoo Finance

    Why Coca Cola & Pepsico both are launching aluminum canned waters

    Beverage giants like Coca-Cola (KO) and Pepsico (PEP) continue to invest in their water brands Dasani and Aquafina, however with a new focus in mind — the environment.

  • Your Weekend Reading: Hong Kong’s Threat
    Finance
    Bloomberg

    Your Weekend Reading: Hong Kong’s Threat

    (Bloomberg) -- Want to receive a daily news briefing, including this weekend edition, in your inbox every day? Sign up hereHong Kong is set to endure yet another weekend of democracy protests. The rallies and tear gas cost the CEO of Cathay Pacific his job, capping a hellish week for both the carrier

  • Argentina Teeters, Protests Rage, Glaciers Melt: Weekend Reads
    Finance
    Bloomberg

    Argentina Teeters, Protests Rage, Glaciers Melt: Weekend Reads

    (Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every day? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.Argentina is teetering on the edge of an economic abyss while its neighbor Chile is watching its glaciers melt at an alarming rate